In Calgary, something surprising happened that shows us how tricky it can be to switch from old ways of doing things to new ones, especially when it comes to technology. Everyone thought fax machines were pretty much a thing of the past, especially in hospitals and clinics where keeping up with the latest tech is important. But, as it turns out, fax machines are still pretty important in some places, like for sending referrals to specialists.
Here’s what went down: The healthcare system in Calgary was trying to make things better and more organized by using a central system for booking appointments with specialists. This meant doctors had to start using a new fax number to send their referrals. Simple, right? Well, not exactly. For months, many doctors kept sending their referrals to the old fax number by mistake. And here’s the kicker—those referrals didn’t go to the right place. Instead, they got lost because the old fax line wasn’t really working anymore. It was like sending a letter to a house that’s no longer there.
From August to December 2023, hundreds of these faxed referrals just vanished. This is a big deal because it means a lot of patients didn’t get the appointments they needed. The health officials said they’re trying to fix this by checking records and making sure everyone who needs an appointment gets one.
This story is kind of a wake-up call. It shows that even though we have all these new technologies, sometimes the old ways stick around for a reason. But it also shows that moving from old to new systems can be really tricky. You have to make sure everyone knows what’s changed and how to use the new system correctly. Otherwise, you end up with a mess like this, where important things get lost in the shuffle.
It’s a reminder that in the world of healthcare, where getting things right can be super important, making sure everyone is on the same page with technology is key. And sometimes, that might mean double-checking that something as seemingly simple as a fax number has been updated everywhere it needs to be.